The Reel Review


This documentary examines the life and career of seven-time Emmy award winner Mary Tyler Moore, and her major contribution to television in the 1960s and 70s as a pioneer in her groundbreaking portrayal of women.

Mary Tyler Moore on The Dick Van Dyke Show in Being Mary Tyler Moore

Director James Adolphus (Soul of a Nation) allows us to hear Moore tell her life story in her own voice, seamlessly weaving a tapestry of archival interviews with Moore and those closest to her with other, present-day comments from celebrities like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Rosie O’Donnell and Reese Witherspoon. Set to a fantastic backdrop of archival footage and personal home movies, the film creates a fascinating time capsule inside Moore’s personal life, exploring not only her career successes, but also her career setbacks and personal challenges – the deaths of her siblings and son, the latter which happened on the heels of her incredible Oscar-nominated performance in 1980’s Ordinary People, and struggles with diabetes and alcoholism.

Valerie Harper and Mary Tyler Moore in Mary Tyler Moore from Being Mary Tyler Moore

While it seems almost silly by today’s standards, Moore truly was an innovator in that era – the first woman to wear pants (capri pants, no less) on a TV sitcom as the outspoken Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show – and later, the first to portray a sexually active, unmarried career woman – in Mary Tyler Moore. By the end of this introspective, two-hour documentary, you will feel like you really know Mary Tyler Moore. Outstanding documentary. This is how you do it.


• James Adolphus had not been familiar with Mary Tyler Moore’s work when he started the project, which producers saw as a positive in that he brought a fresh perspective to the film.

• Moore’s third husband Robert Levine was a producer of the documentary, which included lots of personal memorabilia and home movies.

Ed Asner, Betty White, Mary Tyler Moore and Ted Knight with their Emmys.

• During its seven seasons, Mary Tyler Moore won three Emmys for Best Comedy Series, and a total of 29 Emmys, a sitcom record that held until 2002 when Frasier won its 30th Emmy. Four of Moore’s lifetime total of seven Emmys were won for the sitcom, with Valerie Harper and Ed Asner each winning three, and Ted Knight, Betty White and Cloris Leachman each winning two.


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